The old cliché rings true; Spring is a time of change. As the trees start to spring back to life and the dark nights die away, it’s a perfect time to begin thinking about the future.
This Spring I’m facing one of my biggest challenges to date. My four years at the University of Edinburgh have flown by and this Spring, amongst the flurry of dissertation writing and degree exams, my mind is beginning to turn to what comes next. For this reason, I’m in Copenhagen this weekend, exploring opportunities for after my graduation. Facing the future can be daunting, but this Spring, I am trying to learn to turn fear into excitement.
Although I’m no expert, I’d like to share with you some of the techniques which I use to maintain a positive mental outlook and face challenges head-on.
- Think Positive Thoughts!
Positivity and success walk hand in hand. Meanwhile, negative emotions like guilt and inadequacy only hold us back, preventing us from taking practical steps towards achieving our goals.
When we have a positive mental attitude, we are more content and challenges become much more manageable.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
Try not to compare yourself to others. This can provoke feelings of stress and inadequacy. If you are doing your best, taking practical steps to improve your future, then relax; you are doing more than enough!
3. Remember That Rejection Can Help You Grow
We frequently forget that winning is not the only measure of success. Sometimes what we learn during a process is more important than the outcome itself. To illustrate this anecdotally, I have recently experienced a number of rejections from potential employers. I have reacted by trying to focus, not the rejection itself, but on what I have learned from the process and how I will maximise my future chances of success.
4. Be Persistent
Persistence usually yields positive outcomes. And if determination and sustained effort fail to get us to where we want to be? Then perhaps we weren’t on the right path anyway.
5. Stay Focused
Spend time focusing on the positive changes that you want to make in your life and identify practical ways you can go about achieving them.
6. Look After Yourself
At the moment, I’m balancing a part-time job with my studies, writing a dissertation for my languages degree, applying for graduate jobs and participating in a wide array of extra-curricular activities.
When we’re busy or stressed, we often forget to eat healthily, exercise and get sufficient sleep. However, I’ve found that when I do take time to look after myself, I am far happier and more productive.
7. Find Strength In The Things That You Enjoy
Having the opportunity to relax isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. An hour or two of fun can have positive effects on our mood and productivity. Personally, I enjoy riding horses, working out at the gym and baking (those last two are a little contradictory I know!)
Your interests are likely to be completely different, but the important issue is that you engage in activities which relax you, incorporating them in to your weekly routine.
8. Make And Maintain Meaningful Relationships
Although stress often makes us reluctant to seek out the company of others, ironically, it is often the best antidote to our low mood. Small actions such as calling someone, or inviting them out for a coffee, can improve our mood. It is also important to remember that there are always opportunities to build new relationships; we just have to take an active approach to establishing them.
Your happiness is key. If you are unhappy with aspects of your life, then find positive ways to make a change. Don’t be afraid of change; embrace it. If your life never changed, then it could never get better.
10. Remember That Everything Will Work Out In The End
Even if everything feels very daunting right now, try to remember that everything will pay off in the end and all of the time and effort that you are investing in your future will pay off.
I hope that you found my experiences useful. I’d love to know what changes are effecting your life right now and how you deal with positively with these challenges.
(Supported by Soap & Glory)